Finnish maritime manufacturer Wärtsilä will supply cargo handling systems for five new very large LPG carrier vessels (VLGC) being built for the joint venture between Solvang and Gunvor Group.

The Panamax-size vessels are being built at the Hyundai Heavy Industries yard in South Korea and will have a cargo-carrying capacity of 88,000m³, the largest LPG load currently able to move through the old Panama Canal. They will be delivered between September 2026 and July 2027.

Designed to be more environmentally friendly as part of the “next generation of eco-vessels”, the VLGCs will be built ready for zero emissions technology, such as a carbon capture system currently being tested on Solvang’s Clipper Eris.

Solvang’s fleet director Tor Øyvind Ask said: “These Panamax VLGC newbuilds are a particular compromise between loading capacity, fuel consumption, operational speed and the physical dimensions of the hull to pass through the canal locks. All these factors add up in the environmental performance of the ship.”

The vessels’ single liquid fuel system will also be suitable for HFO, low-sulphur fuel oil, MGO, bio-fuels and e-fuels, according to Ask, who said that a dual-fuel system was not identified as the optimal solution for environmental performance.

Frédéric Meeus, member of Gunvor’s executive committee and head of Naphtha & LPG, said: “Gunvor’s partnership with Solvang demonstrates our commitment to investing in the future of shipping with the latest, most environmentally responsible vessels.”

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Wärtsilä has previously worked on cargo handling systems for LPG vessels several times, including an order for two midsize gas carrier vessels for Exmar LPG placed at the end of 2022.